February is going to be freezing for most travelers in the United States. So…if your destination plans do not include Southern Arizona, here are some tips to help deal with this reality.
Some commonsense tips for one night of projected freezing temps:
Turn off the water at the park faucet when freezing night temps are expected. Empty the water hose.
Empty the black water tank, close the valve and make sure the sewer hose is empty. If you have tank heaters, problem solved.
Close the gray water tank valve.
Just in case the freezing weather is unpredictable, fill up the freshwater tank and keep gallon containers of fresh water stored in the basement as insulation.
Use an ordinary light bulb to add heat to the basement – keep a safe distance between the bulb and anything flammable.
Make sure the onboard propane furnace rotates on and off throughout the late night and morning hours. It is wise to find out the location and phone number of the nearest propane supplier when you check in to the park.
If you do not use the onboard propane furnace, do the same with portable electric heaters, but set the digital volt monitor plugged into the electric outlet to alert you to overloads.
First time RV buyers: if you may face months of really cold weather on the road, purchase the “Artic Package” available with most brands. Research it carefully to ensure the insulation, appliances, and general body framing work for cold weather.
Don’t just buy because the term “artic package” is used in the ads. Underframe insulation, heated tanks, basement and floor heating, plus dual pane windows are the major items on the cold weather list. Any hardware store carries Reflectix insulating foil for the windows. This Reflectix works in the hot summer months too, dropping the inside temps 20 or more degrees.
If your stay is over 1-2 nights, plan your destination park carefully. This is not the time to stay in parks without upgraded utilities. Even if you have excellent solar packages, the sun may not shine on you, be prepared. Certainly don’t park in shaded areas if it can be avoided.
For longer trips to visit family, friends, or just an adventure into cold territory, add a high/low thermometer to the under-storage to gauge future insulation options. Don’t forget to bring along foam pieces to keep the heat from escaping through the ceiling vents. There are new products out there getting high ratings, such as Air Skirts, to insulate the undercarriage.
[See my blog for a review of Air Skirts, “Thoughts for the New Year,” Jan 2022]
Nancy Dixon, in her RVTravel.com article, Yikes, There’s a Freeze Warning, suggests using an electric thermal barrel heater to surround your outside water filters. Also pick up an expensive heated hose for those longer trips to frigid areas. Heed Nancy’s warning and make sure the hose connects directly to the faucet, not the water filter.
Camping in your RV during the frozen winter season can be a very quiet and peaceful break from the noise of the world. RVers rave about the beauty and solitude that surrounds them. Follow these tips and keep your RV warm and toasty. Join the ranks of cold weather campers, you are certainly a special breed of traveler.